Class of '51
October 2001

Dear Classmates and all,

Now, more than ever, we need the kind of wise leaders that come from Gustavus.  And these students need scholarships to even start the arduous journey at college.  Music can help us heal. 

We need the music from all of those students helping them and us to deal with the grief that started less than a week after college classes began.  About an hour after the first plane hit on September 11, the chapel was filled for the regular morning service.  That evening the impromptu service included counseling.  On Friday there were many workshops including, "Where is God in This?"  and "What Do We Think About Good and Evil?"  A special chapel service for the victims of the tragedy was held at noon.  In the Campus Center there is a book with a candle by it for students to write the thoughts of concern and words of hope.

The last of the "tornado classes" graduated in June.  These classes will be defined by another tragic event.  May God give them and us the Spirit's strength and lots of courage as we all remember Christ's mercy and hope for the world.  Please include the college kids in your prayers.  As Pope Paul VI said, "If you want peace, work for justice."  We believe one important way we can pay tribute to those who have died, and honor the best that is in us as Americans and as people of faith, is to continue to seek justice for poor and hungry people here at home and around the world.  Pres. D. Beckman, Bread for the World, quotes a pastor from Rwanda, "Take heart.  God is with you always."

What is your AQ (Adversity Quotient)?  Paul Stotlz says there are three categories:  climbers who seek challenge quitters who flee from it and campers who want to know what's for lunch.  There's a lot more adversity now than when we were students.  Keep on dealing with those daily challenges, including putting Gustavus in your will.  Join Ray Lundquist whose great photo at Reunion Weekend helped us think about our wills.

Phonorama is currently going on.  Any classmates that we don't reach will be called by a student volunteer.  Please be generous.

As Fund Chair, Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 is our No. 1 cheerleader for class agents this year.  She will be 90 next July.  She said, "I want to salute you, class agents…we are an exciting college.  I want to give of myself.  Thank you is a magic word (as alumni send gifts.)  You are our hands, our hearts, and our voices as you communicate with alums and the youth…You are Gustavus!  Gifted to give!  Giving is living!"  She gave us each a loaf of her famous Swedish rye bread.  As Randall Stuckey ’83 said, "She is truly a Gustavus treasure."

The Gustavus Alumni Fund is used immediately, mostly for scholarships!  There is intense competition for students.  As Ray Lundquist told us, "We lose some great students because we don't have enough money for scholarships."  The majority of the annual fund goes for scholarships.  You can designate.  You can now send your gift on-line from the Gustavus web site at:

Gustavus is one of the "safety-net" schools for students who can't get into Ivy league and other selective schools.

I heard the Dean of Students speak at Chapel on the promise of renewal.  "Sometimes we need to step back to go forward…what is holding us back?  Letting go might be frightening, but FAITH can sustain us."

Some of the student service programs are Study Buddies, Elders, Big Partner-Little Partner, After-School Clubs, and volunteering in chapel.

Gustavus has a new chaplain, Rachel Larson.  She joins Brian T. Johnson in the Chaplain's Office.  Gustavus is lucky to have them both.  You belong to the "family on the hill."  One dorm had signs, "Welcome Home."

At the banquet on Class Agents' Day, President Steuer said, "I love this institution!  Loreli loves this institution!  Evelyn Young has given us 71 years of love and loyalty.  Looking at her, you belong to Gustavus and Gustavus belongs to you!"

Phil Lindau ’58, President of the Board of Trustees, told us, "I expect a lot of you:  fire and passion!"  I'm going to add:  our class of ’51 has a lot of fire and passion for Gustavus!  We were named the "Class of the Year."  There will be a plaque hanging in the Alumni Office with our class listed!  Congratulations!  Keep up the good work!

Our class has been honored six times!  Thanks to Ray Lundquist who, in 1959 set us on this spectacular path.  Add the awards in 1975, 1986, 1987, 1991 and 2001.  Only two other classes have risen to the top half as many times.  Are you excited about our class?!  They have changed the award title from "Class Agent of the Year" to "Class of the Year" because we all know what a team effort it is.  Here is the 2001 citation for our class:  Under the effective leadership of a well-organized reunion committee of 17 classmates and class agent, Dorothy Lutz, ten class letters were written during the 2001 fund year (one post-reunion letter) and personal contacts were made to encourage 117 (45%) class members to return to campus for a very successful 50th anniversary reunion and class gift.  The class gift totaled $327,258 from 190 donors (73%).

After that was read, I received lots of hugs and congratulations.  Look for the photo of Kristin Carlson Vlasak, President of the Alumni Board and me in the Winter Quarterly.  I'm wearing the beautiful Norwegian sweater that you all gave to me!

Jim Isaak ’86, Director of the Gustavus Alumni Fund, was so enthusiastic when he told me that we had the most donors (191) of all the classes.  "That's FANTASTIC!," he said about all of our achievements.  People said we were a good group and that we were a lively, noisy group at our 50th anniversary banquet.

We have been asked to try to increase our participation by 5%.  Those of you who didn't get around to it last year can help us a lot!  We need you.  The percentage of donors is based on the number who give compared with the number of classmates listed in the database even if their addresses are unknown.  So our GOAL for our class of 260 is 78.5% or 204 donors (13 more than last year).  Our best year was ’94 with 203 donors so we can do it!  Let your imagination grow and have FUN giving!

An alum told us at our meeting:  "Cec Eckhoff ’56 taught me the joy of giving.  He asked me to be G-1000 when I was graduating.  I thought, "I'll have a job as a teacher.  Sure, I can do it!"  As a struggling teacher, I did it!"

Gustavus students can volunteer and interview to be on the Gustavus PRIDE.  The PRIDE is a student ambassador group that welcomes people and represents Gustavus at many functions.  They invited Evelyn Young to their Christmas party and made Christmas cookies!  Great kids!

"The tornado taught me how much I love Gustavus.  The possibility exists that one could lose Gustavus because of a tornado or lack of attention.  Think of what gifts others gave you so that you give to the future.  We just have to carry on!"  Thanks for inspiring us, Warren Beck ’67.

One businessman told us he notices that Gustavus grads help others instead of looking out for themselves.  125 years ago Old Main was built with $25,000 given by the people in the Augustana Lutheran Churches.  The first student traveled to the churches to raise it.  That is equal to $400,000 in our dollars today.  It must have been a great sacrifice for those people to give that much.  In terms of earning power of a bricklayer, it would be 28 times as much or $700,000.  This is the last part of a poem by Gustavus professor, Joyce Sutphen, written after the three tornadoes struck Gustavus:

"While at the horizon, a black fist

of storm came on, something not

to be averted, something singular

in its fury,

as any blind heart knows."

Her newest book of poetry is Straight Out of View.  The students at Gustavus really like her as a professor.

One of the music profs told me, "I just love teaching here!  They'll have to carry me out someday!  I can talk to the students about honor and courage, (etc.), without another prof objecting."

About our reunion, Ray Lundquist wrote, "It was indeed a great happening…I was so pleased with our total committee effort."

I hope to see some of you at Christmas in Christ Chapel this year.  I'm attending on Saturday afternoon on December 1.  There are five services, starting on Friday evening, November 30.

Thanks again to Ann Komatz Basset's husband, Gene, for the cartoon cover on our Golden Anniversary Booklet.  On it I counted six ministers, name tags with the three crowns, three women lined-up for a photo, and a few classmates racking their brains for a name to fit a face.  What a friendly, talkative, happy, gesturing group!

I had a good visit with Paula Larson Penrod ’79, who is the daughter of our late classmate, Roger Larson.  Paula is on the Alumni Board so she was on campus for Reunion Weekend last May. 

The Free Press (Mankato, MN) had an interesting article on President Axel Steuer, saying he encourages students and faculty to stop in and see him.  Steuer, 58 and entering his 11th year as college president knows there's no such thing as a routine day.  He has lots of meetings.  In his first nine years growing up he spoke only German as a refugee in eastern Germany after World War II.  More than 150 books fill his bookshelf…He doesn't consider going to on-campus social, student or sports activities as work…as Gustavus heads into its 140th year, the diversity is even greater…this year's enrollment of 2,540 is the highest in history.

Gustavus has 312 alumni that live in 64 different countries.  The largest numbers are in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan and Sweden.  Looking at the employment statistics, clergy number 382 plus 82 retired.  Of 20,302 alumni, about 13,000 live in Minnesota.  About 8,700 of those live in or near the Twin Cities.  I was surprised that 860 live in St. Peter.  I noticed that 139 alumni live in the New York area and 215 in the DC area.

Dorothy Conrad Gaard and Arthur will be in Australia for a month visiting one of their daughters and her family.

Lenore "Sandy" Anderson Haber and Jim's daughter, Rev. Tania Haber ’78, was elected to the Gustavus Board of Trustees.

It is always great to visit with Marilyn Barnes Robertz and Bill when I'm in St. Peter.  They showed me the video Marilyn was on about the house where she grew up.  It was restored after the tornadoes.

Ray Lundquist said he was at the Gustavus Heritage Partnership dinner.  Dave and Delores Johnson are new members.  Dave and Delores were also planning to be on campus for the planting of the daffodils on October 6 with the arboretum committee.

Bonnie Seaberg Bergman and Ole ’50 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 9 at the American Swedish Institute.  It was a mini ’51 class reunion, too, according to Ray Lundquist.

Our three class photos were terrific!  See the Quarterly.  Don't miss the photo of Paul Sifford and Elmer Luke.  See page 36 for Vern Bergstrom's photo.

Gordy Sandbaken wrote thanking everyone on the committee.  Thanks, Gordy.  I'm sure we'll be around to help you next time, too.

Florentine Peterson Anderson thanks for the reunion photo and the congratulations!  Yes, we all have happy memories from our reunion.  She and Don were at the Homecoming memorial service and celebration of Eckman

Fred Tidstrom sent an article from The Golden Gusties of 1948 with a photo of Hollingsworth and a photo of his two children with one of the football players.  "Football at Gustavus dates back to 1903…from 1926 until (1947) Gustavus football teams have continued to one of two dominating small college teams in the Midwest…upwards of 70 men are participating in the sport."

Fred also sent some great photos of classmates and of Arne Langsjoen ’42 and Vic Gustafson ’42.  They both look so young on the photos!

Thanks to all who have shared photos and memories from our big, exciting 50th!

Rosemary Schwartau Langsjoen wrote, "I discovered that I am descended from Urbanus Rhegius, a contemporary of Martin Luther's who was an interesting and important figure in the Reformation."  From reading the information I decided Rhegius was a brave thinker and writer.  There are 78 items in the Luther Seminary Library.  Rosie continued, "In contrast to Armajean, I guess I was so awed and thrilled to be a part of Gustavus that I never worried about not being Scandinavian.  I think it was partly because Cannon Falls was such a Swedish community, that I had always sort of thought of myself as an honorary Swede.  Also, growing up in the thirties with a name like mine, one kept a very low profile as far as heritage was concerned.  My brother was the only kid in town who was forbidden to wear a Heinie haircut."

Rosie finishes with this P.S.:  "Wasn't the late night dorm gab fun?"

Pat Carlson Carpenter, Pennock, MN, wrote, "I am enjoying retirement―traveling, playing golf and whatever.  I have been on campus several times this past year.  Everything looks great."

Betty Ann Gedney Howells, Mound, MN, wrote, "In your Golden Anniversary Book you have listed only three of our children.  We have five."

Robert L. - 1954 (not listed)

Stephen J. - 1956 (no listed and graduated from Gustavus)

Richard - 1959

Nancy - 1960

Tom - 1964

Editor's note:  The whole family was listed correctly in the Alumni database, so it is not clear why the names were missed.  We're sorry for the exclusion.  Please add them to your Golden Anniversary Book.

Lois Anderson Quist and Ken, Atlanta, Georgia, wrote, "Our granddaughter, Genevieve Quist will be a freshman at Gustavus this fall."

I'm not sure what info from the "Alumni Information forms" was not included in our Golden Anniversary Booklet since I'm not home to check.  That will be my project before the next letter.

Phonorama News:

Bill Domning had an eventful life obtaining eight patents including one for the hearing aid battery.  He built a church in Arvada, CO.

Does anyone know anyone in Yellville, AR?  Yes, you do!  Denny and Paula Lofstrom moved there in September because it's warmer.  The NSF grant had not come through so they did not return to Antartica as planned.

In the campus Guest House they have a "guest book" and Dr. John Roslansky ’48, of Woods Hole, MA, wrote (in July), "I'm grateful and honored to return to Gustavus."

Chet Johnson, former geology professor, retired again, this time from the Library Archives.  He has given 61 years of service to Gustavus.  (He still goes up to the third floor of the library almost every day!)  How did the professors help us through college?  They lived on low salaries!  I was delighted to see the photo of Vic Gustafson ’42 and the van which former Gustie swimmers gave him.

News from Campus:

The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Nobel Conference XXXVII, What is Still to be Discovered?, was October 2 & 3.  This year’s conference included five Nobel laureates and three other experts who gave participants a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be as we look toward the second Nobel century.  This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizes and the conference included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

I write this as we are on our way to the Nobel Conference, on "What is Still to be Discovered?"  My pen has been "too heavy" for me to finish this letter before.  Fortunately, some of this letter was written right after our marvelous Class Agents' meeting.

Please come back on May 31-June 1 for Reunion weekend.  We are invited back every year now, as members of the 50-Year Club.  Remember what a splendid time we had last May!

We have the resources and the will to help Gustavus students with scholarships, etc. so that they can become strong leaders full of love and compassion.  Christ is leading us and working for good in all things.  With this economy more students will need your scholarships.

Let us gather our thoughts, prayers and gifts to help the students at Gustavus.  There is a future!  Hope and pray!


Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent